Sedda, Giuseppe (2017) La Ricerca scientifica in una manifestazione tradizionale a cavallo: il caso-studio della Sartiglia di Oristano. Doctoral Thesis.
The Sartiglia is a traditional horse joust held in Oristano, Italy, since the 16th century during Carnival celebrations. This kind of events are often criticized because of possible concerns linked to health and welfare of animals. The aim of this thesis is to present two scientific papers, which can potentially provide useful information about possible critical points and remedial strategies. The first evaluates the physiological response and the health status of horses in response to the different stages of the event. Blood tests evidence that horses are in optimal health, also before the start of the tournament, and changes of blood parameters are quickly recovered to baseline values. The second paper reports an investigation about the validation of reference intervals for thermographic values of limbs’ regions. A large distribution of temperatures is recorded on clinically healthy horses. This can represent a problem for the possible prediction of subclinical disease. However, as the use of thermography in the horse is still sporadic the survey may be useful as a benchmark study. In addition, we should not underestimate the involvement and cooperation of various institutions and the possible adaptation of scientific protocols to the strict and ancient stages of a traditional event. The interpretation of the results can lead to a direct benefit linked to animal welfare and the organization of the Sartiglia.
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